“women encourage one another to:
1. Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ
2. Devote themselves to observation, interpretation and application of God’s Word in their lives
3. Encourage God-centered behavior and thought”
She posted this week’s questions on Wednesday and I’ve been rolling them around in my head for a few days. Let’s see what comes out through my fingertips as I try to organize my thoughts:
1. Before you begin a new activity for the Lord, what questions should you ask yourself ? “Is this really for God?” “Is this in line with my stated goals for my family and my life?” “Am I being pressured into saying yes when I should say no?” “Is this activity a stepping stone to something else?” “If I say yes to this, what else will I have to give up or say no to later?”
2. Whose reputation matters most to you–yours or God? How do your actions show this? It depends on where I am in my relationship with God.
If I am close to Him, it is His reputation. I have an acute awareness that my actions are a witness. I remember that what I do reflects upon him. To simplify it, when my kids have gone somewhere in their school uniform, or when FavoriteSon went somewhere in his scout uniform, the grown-ups always reminded the kids that because they were dressed in clothing that identified them with those organizations, people would look at what they did as a representation of those organizations. Simple, I know. But the relationship make sense to me.
But. If I am not close to him (and it is always ME who moves away), my honest answer is that my reputation matters more. I don’t believe it is because I want people to like me. I’m not what you might call a people pleaser. I’ve long since given up on gaining approval or love by meeting other’s expectations. That’s a big ol’ waste of my time. What I do know about myself is that much of my self-confidence comes from the power of knowledge and competence. So if I fail – if I erode my credibility through that failure and my reputation takes a hit, I do NOT like it. This is true if I fail in public or private. Sure, some of my self-confidence comes from other’s awareness of my knowledge and competence in certain areas. But, I’ve also come to realize that just as much of my self-confidence comes from ME being aware of my knowledge and competence in certain areas. So, when I fail or sin and I’m the only one who knows about it, my credibility with ME is eroded. And I do NOT like it. But again, that’s when I’m focused on me, not God, so thankfully and by His grace, that isn’t all the time.
3. The majority of culture rebel against God, at home, work and even church. How can you stand against this tide? This one is a little easier to answer. I don’t try to gain approval by meeting other’s expectations. Is that a nice way of saying that I don’t give a flying flip what mainstream culture thinks about how I live my life? How I guide and raise my children? I can live with that. No apologies here for living what I believe.
4. Do you think people should have to live with the consequences of their sins? What does God think about this?
First question: Yes, and that applies to me too, not just “other” people. I’ve seen so many people try the ““Jake” thing from the Blues Brothers. (Go ahead. Click on the link, you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’s 24 seconds.) Seriously. I have no patience for that. Here’s something I’ve been heard to say frequently. “Own it.” And that applies to me, too. An example that immediately comes to my mind happened just over a year ago. I had what I described as one of the most stressful days I had in years. That afternoon, picked the kids up at school and after a few hours in my company, my son said, “Mom? Can I do ANYTHING right today?” ouch. I owned it and apologized big time. I HATE “owning it.” But when I do, I learn so much. Lessons learned to guard against future sins. Hopefully.
Second question: What does God think about this? Immediately I remembered a devotional I wrote last year and the exchange that followed. Elle and Debbie had some comments really made sense.